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Mental rotation of a tactile layout by young visually impaired children

Ungar, Simon and Blades, Mark and Spencer, Christopher (1995) Mental rotation of a tactile layout by young visually impaired children. [Journal (Paginated)]

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Abstract

Mental rotation tasks have been used to probe the mental imagery of both sighted and visually impaired people. People who have been blind since birth display a response pattern which is qualitatively similar to that of sighted people but tend to respond more slowly or with a higher error rate. It has been suggested that visually impaired people code the stimulus and its (or their own) motion in a different way from sighted people - in particular, congenitally blind people may ignore the external reference framework provided by the stimulus and surrounding objects, and instead use body-centred or movement-based coding systems. What has not been considered before is the relationship between different strategies for tactually exploring the stimulus and the response pattern of congenitally blind participants. Congenitally blind and partially sighted children were tested for their ability to learn and recall a layout of tactile symbols. Children explored layouts of one, three or five shapes which they then attempted to reproduce. On half the trials there was a short pause between exploring and reproducing the layouts. In an aligned condition children reproduced the array from the same position at which they had explored it; in a rotated condition children were asked to move 90˚ round the table between exploring and reproducing the layout. Both congenitally blind and partially sighted children were less accurate in the rotated condition than in the aligned condition. Five distinct strategies used by the children in learning the layout were identified. These strategies interacted with both visual status and age. We suggest that the use of strategies, rather than visual status or chronological age, accounts for differences in performance between children.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:mental rotation, blindness, strategies, cognitive map, spatial cognition
Subjects:Psychology > Applied Cognitive Psychology
Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Psychology > Developmental Psychology
Psychology > Perceptual Cognitive Psychology
ID Code:1527
Deposited By:Ungar, Simon
Deposited On:31 May 2001
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

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